Today’s offering includes three fascinating examples of lousy leadership at work, two explanations of the worst traits of lousy leadership and a review of a remedial book for lousy leaders.
The first example of lousy leadership is personally embarrassing, not because it’s about me, but because in January 2008 and again in April I lauded this lousy leader for creating a great culture. Little did I know. The lousy leader is Sam Zell and his hand-picked executive Randy Michaels, now CEO, created a culture that rivals or exceeds anything you’ve heard about on Wall Street.
Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel… After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts.
And it went downhill from there.
Next we have a pair of lousy leader brothers, Sam and Charles Wyly, who have avoided paying taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars by using trusts and tax haven-based shell corporations. And these two Texas swashbucklers are sure that the upcoming election will see an end to their problems.
“I think it’s good politics to beat up on big companies and rich people,” said Sam Wyly. Soon, he said, “the election will be over, and this will be forgotten about, or lost, be shut down, be gone, will be nothing.”
The third is Goldman Sachs, a company stuffed with lots of lousy leaders. Not another article, but a recommendation to watch CNBC’s Goldman Sachs: Power and Peril when it repeats October 26 at 8pm ET in case you missed it last Sunday.
Greed is a constant hallmark of lousy leaders. According to Andrew Lo, an MIT professor who researches the relationship between neuroscience and economics, greed actually has a chemical basis.
“When a person acquires resources, chemicals are released in the brain that cause the sensation of pleasure. Greed is simply the addiction to that release.”
Can corporate culture turn good leaders into lousy leaders?
Organizations have more power to direct employee ethical behavior of than we previously knew.
That’s the bottom line of new research from the University of Washington Foster School of Business that demonstrates, for the first time, the relationship between moral intuition—a reflexive perception of what is right and wrong—and moral behavior.
Finally, the perfect gift for lousy leaders—a copy of Marshall Goldsmith’s new book, Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back If You Lose It
Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedroelcarvalho/2812091311/